Failure as a Service (FaaS) self-assessment

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This article is the second in our two part series on maximising the positives from failure. It helps organisation assess how ready they are to fail and how to get better at it.

Executive Summary

  • In our first article on FaaS we outline the framework of what FaaS is and the core requirements an organisation needs to extract the benefits from it.

  • The two most important elements companies need in order to benefit from FaaS are what we term a Culture of Urgency and the Ability to Execute.

  • Underpinning these two elements are four core strategic areas that must align in an organisation for it to iterate, fail and maximise learning. These are: People, Culture & Organisation, Operations, Market & Customer Insight and Leadership.

  • Knowing to what level your organisation is maximising these four strategic areas is a crucial starting point to assess how ready it is to capitalise from FaaS.

  • Through filling in a simple questionnaire your organisation can gain an understanding of its current state with benefiting from FaaS approaches and and how to continually maximise the benefits of experimentation.

Underpinning our thinking on Failure as a Service (FaaS), is the core belief that change is increasing in scale and scope for businesses and only the ability to continually experiment and iterate will enable the successful navigation of this change.  

However, a culture of experimentation brings with it failure and no one wants to fail. Failure must be tamed and become part of the process towards success. Businesses need to learn from failure so the learning builds towards increased ability to succeed. As the quotes below suggest, we are not alone in this thinking.

“If you want to create a successful, hyper-growth company, you’ve got to focus on creating the right culture and learn how to rapidly experiment...The only way to keep up is to be constantly experimenting and innovating. Hyper-growth and experimentation are very closely linked.”
Peter Diamandis, Chairman / CEO XPRIZE Foundation, Co-Founder Singularity University

“Failure is just success, deferred”
Ray Kurzweil, Futurist, Inventor, Author

That being said, organisational learning from failure is easier said than done. Organisations have myriad blockers not only to change, but enabling learning from failure.  

How can I assess my organisation’s ability to fail and learn?

Before moving into the self-assessment section of this article, let’s quickly loop back on the core attributes and elements that need to be present to ensure organisational success with FaaS. It is these core attributes and core elements that form the basis of assessment later on. Firstly, the core attributes which underpin an organisation’s ability to implement FaaS thinking and approaches are:

  1. Culture of Urgency.  This is the extent to which companies are taking the reality and rapidity of digital disruption seriously and the degree this reality is exhibiting itself across the business, especially in senior leadership, as a ‘call-to-action’, and

  2. Ability to Execute.  This is an awareness of the benefits that adopting fail-fast approaches can have for a business, the extent these approaches/tools and processes exist in organisations and the maturity of these approaches.

Each of these core attributes are enabled by the four core elements below.

  1. People, Culture and Organisation: The degree of a shared understanding by employees for the need to fail fast, how to do it and how to action the learning.

  2. Operations (Process, Technology and Facilities): The structures, tools and processes present in an organisation that enable employees to fail fast, learn and iterate.

  3. Market and Customer Insight: The degree to which the needs of the customer are considered, and met, through an organisation's innovation processes and the degree of market knowledge re: the drivers and direction of change relevant to an organisation.

  4. Leadership: The extent to which there is a clear, well communicated and agreed vision of the need to iterate and experiment for learning and innovation.

The self-assessment, an overview.

In the self-assessment, we enable an organisation to plot their current reality on FaaS readiness on the below matrix via a simple questionnaire. The final scores from the self-assessment will enable organisations to examine their current-state with scaling FaaS in their business, identify gaps inhibiting them maximising the benefits of FaaS and provide guidance of how to increase their businesses’ capability to iterate, experiment and succeed.

Failure as a Service Assessment Matrix

The following table has a brief explanation of each quadrant an organisation could potentially land in, after the self-assessment. The strategic imperatives of falling into one of the quadrants is outlined in the FaaS Self Assessment Questionnaire which you can download at the bottom of this article.

Failure as a Service Quadrant Descriptions

Next steps

  1. Download the easy-to-complete self-assessment questionnaire

  2. Ascertain where your organisation currently sits with its ability to capitalise from FaaS

  3. Understand the major strategic moves your organisation should take to maximise the benefits from FaaS depending on where you land in the matrix

  4. Get in touch to discuss how we could assist your organisation, as we have dozens of others, enabling their experimentation, iteration and learning-from-failure journeys.